Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Raven's Ladder Review

Author: Jeffery Overstreet

Characters: Excellent! Just as in the previous books, the cast of Raven’s Ladder is a colorful treat for the reader, with characters who are realistic and easy to like or dislike, depending on the character.

Location: Pretty good. I did get confused once or twice, but for the most part, the descriptions were colorful and easy to understand. I especially liked the descriptions of Bel Amica. I felt like I could almost see the city.

Plot: Brilliant! Jeffery Overstreet weaves together the lives of the characters to form a magnificent plot full of twists, mystery, and excitement. I enjoyed getting answers to some of my questions, though there’s still some questions yet unanswered.

Other: Though not quite as good as Auralia’s Colors, Raven’s Ladder is an amazing book, well worth reading.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lensbaby Flowers

Hello, everyone. As you know if you read my latest post, my assignment last week was to take pictures with a Lensbaby. Well, these are the results of my efforts.

Thanks for stopping by, and please don't forget to vote on my poll!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Photography and a New Novel

Hello, everyone! I’m back with an update on what I’ve been doing lately!

·        I have started my photo assignments, and so far, it’s been going fairly well. My first week’s assignment was “Americana”, for which Daddy and I went to DC to take pictures. First we photographed the Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin as the sun rose. Then we moved on to the FDR Memorial and the WWII Memorial. This week my assignment was to take pictures using the Lensbaby, a special lens that is often used for artistic effects. In doing this, I finally learned how to use it! I’ll be posting some of the pictures that I took with it on Monday.
·        I finished my story! I’m very happy about this, since I’ve been working on it since before Christmas. I finished it on Friday, February 24. It was just in time, since I was beginning to get quite tired of writing it!
·        Now, of course, I have to figure out what to write next. And, since I have four different ideas, I’m going to ask you for your opinions like I did for my NaNoWriMo novel back in October. The poll will be up for a week, and I’d appreciate it if you’d vote sometime during that time. These are my ideas:
o                   Story One: (Sequel to Gone [Camp NaNoWriMo2011 novel]) Audrey may be safe, but Kelia’s work is definitely not over. Trapped in an unfamiliar world and on the run from Lord Faldrin, she knows she needs help, but isn’t sure how to get it. An unexpected capture alerts her to the presence of possible allies, but will she be able to gain their trust? As her adventure goes on, she finds herself in situations she never would’ve dreamed of, and discovers things about herself and her family that will turn her perspective upside down. Pros: This would be a shorter novel, so I’d definitely be finished in time for Camp NaNoWriMo this year, and I’d get to write a startling revelation scene. Also, since I ended Gone on a cliffhanger, I probably should continue it. Cons: I’m not as excited about this story as I could be at the moment, and there are one or two spots where I’m not quite sure what’ll happen. Also, I was considering saving it for this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo in case I chose to do a shorter challenge.
o                   Story Two: (Sequel Idea #1 for my NaNoWriMo 2011 novel) Nightshade is back! Several months have peacefully passed since Rachelle was reunited with her family, but the appearance of their old enemy effectively disrupts their happiness. Dustin and Hunter set out to keep an eye on Nightshade and attempt to stop her. Meanwhile, Rachelle journeys south in search of an old friend whose help they badly need. At the same time, Dea Alyron has set out to make her way in the world, but when she meets first with Aleta Nernathon the bardess and then with Rachelle, she finds herself in an adventure she never would’ve dreamed of. Pros: I’m excited about this story, I want to return to the world of dragons and dragon Riders, and I also want to write about these characters. Cons: There are some spots where I’m not sure what to do, and it would have to be another novel about the same length as my NaNoWriMo novel.
o                   Story Three: (Sequel Idea #2 for my NaNoWriMo 2011 novel) Gwen and the Firhirt siblings have traveled south to search for Gwen’s brother, Jake. However, Jake seems to have disappeared without a trace. While searching, they meet up with another of Gwen’s siblings, Emma, who’s been trying to avoid her entire family, including Gwen! They soon become a bit suspicious of Emma, who seems to be hiding something. Then, when Emma learns of a plot to kill (someone, haven’t decided who), she is faced with a choice: say nothing and stay out of trouble or tell Gwen and the Firhirts and become entangled in the same danger she’s been trying to avoid for years. Pros: Same as Story Two. Cons: Same as Story Two.
o                   Story Four: (No story) I could also, instead of starting a new novel, work on writing short stories as I get ideas for them and do some worldbuilding for Berstru. Pros: This might be more relaxing for me than the other ideas, and it would give me freedom to, if I really, really wanted to, start one of the novels I mentioned earlier. Also, I’ve had ideas for a few short stories that I haven’t wanted to start because I’ve been working on something else, and worldbuilding is always helpful. Cons: I’m not sure how long I’d actually be able to go without starting a new novel, so I might end up getting tired of this after a week or so, and I’m not entirely sure I wouldn’t go crazy without a novel to work on.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks a bunch for reading this very long post. Please don’t forget to vote in my poll!

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Question part four

My apologies for not posting this yesterday. Here's part three, in case you need a refresher.

Part Four
The crowds of townsfolk
Bustle around me.
Doing their morning shopping.
Hawking their wares.
Young women
Giggling and gossiping.
All these
And more
Fill the crowded marketplace.
I slip,
Between shoppers and stalls.
I listen to every word they say.
One name
Is on everyone’s lips,
The name of the one
Who I have followed.
“The Prince!”
They say,
“The one who calls Himself
Son of the Great King!”
Matronly women
Talk knowingly with their friends
About Him.
“I heard
He raised a girl from the dead,”
Says one.
“My cousin told me
That He gave sight to a girl blind from birth!”
Exclaims another.
“My husband says
That He knows more about the Great King than anyone,
Even the Elders!”
Another whispers.
Speculations fly
About who He is.
“He is the one we have heard of,
The one who says a Deliverer is coming!”
“He is one of the heroes of old,
Come back to lead us!”
“He is a prophet,
Sent with a message from the Great King!”
Everyone seems to have an opinion
But I do not think
That anyone truly knows for sure.
I leave the city,
Running out the gates
And back to the place
Where our group stopped
While I went on ahead
To find out what the townspeople say
About our leader.
I approach Him respectfully.
He turns to me.
“You have returned.
What have you learned?”
I tell Him what I heard.
“Some say
You are the One who proclaims a Deliverer is coming.
Others say
You are a hero of old
Or a prophet.”
He nods slowly.
“And you, Teresa,
Who do you say I am?”
I hesitate.
I have pondered the question
Many times
Despite having followed Him
This long.
Who is He?
Who am I following?
I feel as if every eye in the group
Is on me.
Who is He?
Who am I following?
I look up,
Into His eyes,
And I realize
I knew all along
But I would not admit it.
“You are,”
I begin.
“You are
The Prince of Peace,
Son of the Great King.”
The Prince of Peace smiles.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cyndere's Midnight Review

Author: Jeffery Overstreet

Characters: Magnificent! The characters are brilliant and unique, and the book is written so that you feel as if you know them, though with some characters, this familiarity is almost frightening.

Location: Very good. The descriptions were vivid and easy to picture, and I didn’t get confused about where places were in relation to each other.

Plot: Fairly good, but it started a bit slowly. Also, there were places when I got a bit confused about when things happened in relation to other things. However, the plot was fairly interesting once it got going.

Other: I will note that this book, as it name suggests, is a bit darker in some ways than Auralia’s Colors. There’s nothing bad in it, but it is, in some ways, a bit frightening.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Question Part Three

Hello, everyone! I'm back, with part three of The Question. Here's part two in case you haven't read it yet. Enjoy!

Part Three
We are all eager
For a rest.
The heat
And long days of travel
Have taken their toll on us.
Whispers run up and down the crowd.
“We approach a town,”
They say,
“Perhaps we will stop.”
I hope they are right.
We reach the gate
As the evening watchmen
Take their place.
As we walk down the main street,
I look around.
The town is quiet,
Far more so than it should be.
I wonder what has happened
To bring on this gloom.
As the townspeople see
Our leader,
The One who calls Himself
The Prince of Peace,
Son of the Great King,
A whispering cry goes up.
A man,
Dressed in the black clothes
Of mourning,
Steps towards Him.
“Please, lord,”
He says,
“Please lord,
My daughter has died today,
I have heard of Your works.
If You come
And touch her,
She will live.”
I wonder,
Not for the first time,
At the faith people display that
Our leader
Can heal them,
Though I have never seen Him bring anyone
Back from the dead.
I know, though,
That He rewards those who have faith.
Sure enough,
He speaks.
“Lead Me to your daughter.”
The man turns
And we follow.
As we reach the man’s house
We hear loud crying
And wailing.
Our leader goes inside.
Most stay behind
I slip after Him,
I follow Him
To the dead girl’s bedroom.
The girl’s mother sits,
By the bed.
Our leader speaks gently to her.
“Weep no more,”
He says,
“She is not dead,
Only asleep.”
The woman looks up,
Our leader takes the hand
Of the dead girl.
He says,
“The night is over.
It is time for you to get up.”
I watch,
As she opens her eyes
And sits up.
The girl’s mother
Throws her arms around her daughter,
Tears of joy
Flowing from her eyes.
The man bows
And thanks our leader.
I stare at Him,
Who is He
To give sight to the blind?
Who is He
To raise a child from the dead?
Could He truly be
The Prince of Peace,
Son of the Great King?
I stare
And wonder,
Not for the last time,
Who He truly is.
I almost think
I already know the answer.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Question part two

Hello, everyone! I'm back with the second part of The Question! Here's part one in case you haven't read it yet.

Part Two
We have been traveling for weeks,
Following the One
Who calls Himself
The Prince of Peace,
Son of the Great King.
Many have joined us.
Some wait for Him
To overthrow those
Who would oppress us.
Some are simply curious,
Wondering who He is.
And some believe that
He is the Prince of Peace.
I follow because
He called
And I could not say no.
One day,
Hot and dusty like all midsummer,
I see ahead of us
Two girls,
Both younger than my own fifteen years.
One guides the other,
Who stares off with
Eyes that seem not to see.
Their ragged dresses
Hang loose on their gaunt frames.
As they draw closer, I see
That one walks with a limp.
Now I know who they are.
A blind girl
And a cripple.
The blind girl walks humbly,
Guided by the cripple,
But seeming to listen for something.
The cripple steps
Almost proudly
Despite her infirmity.
They are those
Who exist solely on the charity of others.
A blind girl and a cripple,
They should be hiding like I once hid,
Though I am not like them.
I hid because
I loved to be alone.
They would hide
Because they would have little choice.
Yet they do not hide.
They continue towards us.
I look at our leader.
He will not stop,
Not for these,
A blind girl and a cripple!
He stops
As they draw near.
They stop too,
The cripple glancing up,
Half in fear,
Half in scorn.
The blind girl still stares,
Her eyes blank.
Our leader speaks gently.
“What do you want Me to do for you?”
The cripple remains silent
But the blind girl
Turns towards His voice.
“Please, sir,”
She asks,
Her voice hopeful.
“Please sir, I believe You can give me my sight.”
A man next to me whispers
“I knew that girl in my old village.
She is blind,
Blind from birth.”
I stare at the blind girl.
She has never seen,
Yet she asks for sight?
I have heard that
Before I joined Him,
Our leader healed the blind,
The sick,
The crippled,
But I believed them to be only rumors.
How can she hope
To have her request granted?
Our leader speaks,
“Then see, daughter, for
Your faith
Has healed you.”
A smile spreads across the face of the girl,
Once blind,
As she looks around,
Seeing for the first time.
I wonder,
Not for the last time,
Who is this man
Who I am following?
This healer,
This miracle worker?
Is He a great teacher,
A prophet,
Like some people say?
Or is He who He says He is,
The Prince of Peace,
Son of the Great King?
I look ahead
And see the cripple walking away,
Scornful of what our leader
Might do for her.
The once-blind girl,
Kneels before our leader,
Joyfully thanking Him,
And then she joins our group.
The whispers fly.
“The cripple,
The blind girl’s sister,
Refused healing.
She came only for her sister’s sake,
Now she is leaving.”
I watch her go
And wonder,
Not for the last time,
What she truly has refused.

What do you think? I'd love it if you'd comment and tell me! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Auralia's Colors Review

Author: Jeffery Overstreet

Characters: Incredibly colorful. There’s really no other way to describe the cast of Auralia’s Colors. From Auralia to the Gatherers to Cal-Raven, these characters are a delight to read about, each magnificent in his or her own way.

Location: Interesting. In general, the descriptions were vivid and the places easy to visualize. I also found House Abascar unique and interesting.

Plot: Amazing! Each of the characters and their choices makes up another thread in this tapestry of plot, subplot, mystery, and discovery. It moves at just the right pace, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns.

Other: Auralia’s Colors is a masterpiece well worth reading and rereading. Taken at face value, it’s a good story, but there are many sections in it that invite the reader to stop and think, wonder, and dream.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Question Part One

Hello, everyone! I'm here with the first part of The Question, a story in poem form. This is from my Tales of the Great King series, and it takes place in the years just before The Sacrifice. As a note, this is written in the free verse style of poetry, which doesn't have to rhyme. With that, enjoy!

Part One
Here, in my forest,
I stay.
Silent as the breeze,
Always on the move.
One day
He sees me
And I see him.
I freeze,
Poised to flee
But I do not run.
Not yet.
Something about him
Keeps me here,
Seems to call my name.
He somehow seems to whisper,
Tugging at me to come.
I stare at him,
And yet not afraid.
Finally, I speak.
“Who are you?”
He answers,
“I am
The Prince of Peace,
Son of the Great King.”
I stare,
Who is this man to make such a claim?
Who is He to say
He is the Son of the Great King?
It cannot be possible
And yet, somehow,
I almost believe Him.
I look,
Into His eyes,
And I find
And strength reflected there.
He speaks again
And His voice
Tugs at me,
Pulls at my heart.
He says,
“Follow Me.”
He turns to go.
I hesitate.
Follow Me,”
He has said.
I am afraid.
I do not want to leave my hiding place,
My safe forest,
He has called me.
Follow me.”
And so
I follow.

What do you think? I hope you like it! Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Finally Posting

Hello, everyone. I’m sorry it took me so incredibly long to get an update up about what I’ve been doing. I won’t give excuses this time, because you’re probably all tired of hearing them. I’ll try my best to do better in future.

·        My writing has been going very well lately. At the beginning of the month, I started a goal of writing an hour a day, and it’s helped a lot. I think that in the past ten or so days I’ve gotten almost as much written as I did in the entire month of January. In addition to the novel I’m writing, I also wrote another Tales of the Great King story in the form of a free verse poem. I hope to post it on my blog soon.
·        Most of you have probably noticed the lack of pictures on my blog lately. This is mostly because I haven’t been taking pictures recently. However, I’m hoping that this will also change soon. Why? Well, I’ve decided that every week for the next six weeks, I’ll have an assignment, and I’ll have to take at least one good picture that fits that assignment. Also, on the nineteenth, it will be the fiftieth day of the year, a day when some photographers attempt a challenge to take fifty good pictures with a 50 mm lens. Daddy did this challenge last year, and you can see some of his pictures on his blog here. You can also get a better explanation of the challenge there.
·        Despite all this writing, I have managed to find time to read, though I still haven’t gotten around to Cyndere’s Midnight, the next book in the Auralia Thread. This is mostly because I’ve been waiting until I have a free weekend so that it doesn’t interfere with my schoolwork.
·        Why couldn’t I read it last weekend. Well, last weekend, we went to Lexington to visit some friends. I enjoyed the trip, though I was glad when we returned home.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks a bunch for stopping by, and I apologize once more for not posting more often.